Search Results for "white-crowned"

  • White-crowned Sparrow

    By Rich Schooler The White-crowned Sparrow is primarily a wintering bird throughout much of the United States. White-crowned Sparrow can be found in Arizona during the late fall through spring in most Arizona habitats. The arrival of White-crowns in the fall is a sure sign that winter is not far behind. The sparrow comes to seed feeders regularly and is frequently accompanied by Dark-eyed Juncos, both preferring to feed on the ground beneath the feeders. The bird is common throughout its range, and is seen regularly in and around Prescott. The White-crowned Sparrow is a small bird, about 6.5 inches long with distinct white and black stripes on the crown of the head of the adults. The bird has plain gray under parts, a whitish throat, and brown streaky upper parts. The bill varies from pink to orange to yellowish. Immature White-crowns are similar to the adults, except the crown is uniformly brown. The sparrow is an active bird that is not particularly shy, making it a relatively easy bird to find with binoculars. Feeding White-crowns are fun to watch as they “hop kick” through leaves and sticks on the ground searching for seeds. White-crowned Sparrows depart for their breeding areas in Canada and Alaska in mid- to late-spring. White-crowns also nest in the American Northwest and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Departure of White-crowns in the spring signals the coming

  • ‘Everything’s Hometown’: Winging it with nature in Prescott

    Mar 31, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Alan Dean Foster's PerceivingsNo CommentsRead More »

    The author in a Tuareg headdress. Courtesy photo. By Alan Dean Foster We’ve lived in Prescott for 36 years and I still take the local nature for granted. It’s amazing how downright blasé you can become over time about such things. It’s usually when we have visitors from out of town, often from metropolitan areas where the only real wildlife tends to hang around liquor stores, that I realize how fortunate we are, and how each of us really needs to take time from work and commuting and the damn TV and the addictive internet to get out and have a look around town for something besides the weekly arts and crafts festival. We’re doubly fortunate because our house backs onto one of the several major creeks that run through town. That gives us access not only to more wildlife but to a greater variety of visitors, as critters that tend to hang out elsewhere come down for the occasional drink. There’s the rare bobcat, and deer, and skunks. We had a bear once, a long time ago, and of course coyotes and javelinas are a steady presence. But to get a real feel for Prescott city wildlife you have to pay attention to the birds. I’m not going to turn this into a birdwatcher column. For one thing, there are better local resources available and for another, I’d probably

  • News from the Wilds: January 2017

    Dec 30, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the WildsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris January in the Mogollon Highlands is when the long quiet of winter reaches its coldest and snowiest, as storms bluster and howl, pushing plants and animals to the limits of their endurance. The frigid days, however, are often interspersed with sunny, cold days that skitter with bursts of bird and mammal activity. Every plant and animal has a set of strategies for making it through this time of scant resources and dangerous temperatures —pregnant female Black Bears hibernate in underground dens; Bobcats, Coyotes, and deer grow thicker coats and subtly re-route blood flow away from their skin and extremities; and ground squirrels, chipmunks, and Beavers settle into the well-stocked dens that they’ve been provisioning for months. Insects and herbaceous plants have evolved so that only their eggs and seeds overwinter, while trees decrease photosynthesis either by dropping leaves or by insulating them with thicker coatings and alter their chemistry by increasing lipid content and membrane permeability to decrease risk of frost and freeze damage. In many cases these adaptations, both physiological and behavioral, are remarkably complex. But the glimmers of the coming spring continue as well. Some animals are “planting their seeds” for the coming year, including the Black Bears and River Otters, both of whom give birth this month. Many of our wind-pollinated trees are in flower, during this time when the broad leaves of deciduous

  • News From the Wilds: January 2016

    Jan 1, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the WildsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris January in the Mogollon Highlands is when the long quiet of winter reaches its coldest and snowiest, as storms bluster and howl, pushing plants and animals to the limits of their strength. The frigid days, however, are often interspersed with sunny, cold days that skitter with bursts of bird and mammal activity. Every plant and animal has a set of strategies for making it through this time of scant resources and dangerous temperatures — pregnant female Black Bears hibernate in underground dens; Bobcats, Coyotes, and deer grow thicker coats and subtly re-route blood flow away from their skin and extremities; and ground squirrels, chipmunks, and Beavers settle into the well-stocked dens that they’ve been provisioning for months. Insects and herbaceous plants have evolved so that only their eggs and seeds overwinter, while trees decrease photosynthesis either by dropping leaves or by insulating them with thicker coatings and alter their chemistry by increasing lipid content and membrane permeability to decrease risk of frost damage. In many cases these adaptations, both physiological and behavioral, are remarkably complex. But the glimmers of the coming spring continue as well. Some animals are “planting their seeds” for the coming year, including the Black Bears and River Otters, both of whom are giving birth. Many of our wind-pollinated trees are in flower, during this time when the broad leaves of deciduous trees have

  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet

    By Peter Pierson Broken dark clouds drop lower as they pass across Granite Mountain, bringing rain, then, as the storm moves in from the west, what is being projected to be the heaviest snowfall in two or three years here in the Central Highlands. The pending storm brings out the usual visitors in numbers. Juncos, siskins, chipping sparrows, and house finches rotate between the tray and the feed spilled on the ground. Amidst the ground feeders, the distinct black-and-white-striped crown of a lone white-crowned sparrow stands out. Red-breasted nuthatches and juniper titmice pluck through sunflower seeds amidst a wave of chattering bushtits. An orange-crowned warbler waits while a pair of yellow-rumped warblers feed at a suet station. Brilliant sunlight pokes from between the dark, moisture-laden clouds, illuminating a flash of red in a juniper. It’s a ruby-crowned kinglet, although ruby does not quite do it justice on a day like this. The tiny bird, second, with its close relation the golden-crowned kinglet, in its diminutive status only to the hummingbirds, moves its way down the branches towards the suet. “Nervous,” as described in guidebooks, this tiny bundle of metabolism flits down the tree, branch by branch, not staying in one place long enough to get a bead on it with the binoculars. Its distinctive long, continuous, babbling song may be heard well before the first hints of dawn. Here in

  • News From the Wilds: January 2015

    Jan 2, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the Wilds3,958 CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris January in the Central Highlands is when the long quiet of winter reaches its coldest and snowiest, as storms bluster and howl, pushing plants and animals to the limits of their strength. The frigid days, however, are often interspersed with sunny, cold days that skitter with bursts of bird and mammal activity. Every plant and animal has a set of strategies for making it through this time of scant resources and dangerous temperatures. Pregnant female Black Bears hibernate in underground dens. Bobcats, Coyotes, and deer grow thicker coats and subtly re-route blood flow away from their skin and extremities. Ground squirrels, chipmunks, and Beavers settle into the well-stocked dens that they’ve been provisioning for months. Insects and herbaceous plants have evolved so that only their eggs and seeds overwinter, while trees decrease photosynthesis either by dropping leaves or by insulating them with thicker coatings and alter their chemistry by increasing lipid content and membrane permeability to decrease risk of frost damage. In many cases these adaptations, both physiological and behavioral, are remarkably complex. But the glimmers of the coming spring continue as well. Some animals are “planting their seeds” for the coming year, including the Black Bears and River Otters, both of whom are giving birth. Many of our wind-pollinated trees are in flower, during this time when the broad leaves of deciduous trees have been dropped,

  • News From the Wilds: January

    Jan 3, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the Wilds17 CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris January, and the long quiet of winter now reaches its coldest and snowiest period in the Central Highlands of Arizona. Every animal has a set of strategies for making it through this time of scant resources and dangerous temperatures ranging from hibernation (female Black Bears) to growing thicker coats (Bobcats and deer) to staying in well-stocked dens (ground squirrels, chipmunks, and beavers). Insects and herbaceous plants have adapted their lifecycles such that only their eggs and seeds overwinter. Meanwhile, trees decrease photosynthesis (either by dropping leaves or by insulating them with thicker coatings) and alter their chemistry (increasing lipid content and membrane permeability) to decrease risk of frost damage. In many cases, these adaptations, both physiological and behavioral, are remarkably complex. But glimmers of the coming Spring continue as well. Some animals “plant their seeds” for the coming year, including Bears, Otters, and Great Horned Owls, who are all giving birth. Many wind-pollinated trees are in flower, while the broad leaves of cottonwoods, alders, and ash are gone, thus allowing pollen to travel farther without as many obstacles. Unfortunately, many species of juniper are included in this, which makes the next several months the peak allergy season for humans in the Central Highlands. January, with its snowfalls and floods, is one of the best times of the year to study the activity of mammals through tracking in

  • October diet changes

    By Eric Moore Many changes take place in the natural world during October. Most notable is the onset of freezing temperatures. As morning temperatures drop, there’s a ripple effect throughout nature. Insect populations began to die off and birds begin shifting their diet to seeds, nuts and berries. This change occurs so gradually and naturally that it’s almost imperceptible. Birdseed consumption and activity at suet feeders increases as insect populations diminish and the days grow shorter. In October, fall migrants such as Dark-eyed Juncos, White-crowned Sparrows, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and Ruby-crowned Kinglets begin showing up at backyard bird feeding stations in large numbers. Having traveled hundreds of miles, these migratory birds need to refuel to survive. Make sure your feeders are stocked with fresh seed and suet to greet the arriving songbirds who’ll winter here. ***** Eric Moore is owner of Jay’s Bird Barn, 1046 Willow Creek Road in Prescott. Contact him at Eric@JaysBirdBarn.Com

  • September’s migrators

    By Eric Moore Shorter days and cooler temperatures help usher in fall migration. September is a great time to get outdoors and go bird-watching. One of the best places to witness the daily ebb and flow of bird migration is Willow Lake and the surrounding grassy habitat. Migrating shorebirds, ducks, gulls, terns, and pelicans use Willow Lake as a refueling point. Many of these water-dependent species are traveling thousands of miles from their breeding grounds in North America to destinations in Mexico, Central America, and even South America. Frequent visits to the lake reveal the changing dynamics of bird migration, with a variety of species arriving and departing each day. Changes in backyard birds will occur too with the departure of hummingbirds and the arrival of wintering species such as White-crowned Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. ***** Eric Moore is owner of Jay’s Bird Barn, 1046 Willow Creek Road in Prescott. Contact him at Eric@JaysBirdBarn.Com

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